DALLAS -- How's this for a stretch of possessions to open the fourth quarter of a close game: Long jump shot, longer jump shot. Feed a teammate for a layup, then swish another jumper. Get another assist, then nail a 3-pointer from so deep that your defender walks away saying, "Whooo."
"That's what they expect," said Williams, acquired in August to ease the load off James. "Tonight was a great sign. It was a long summer for me, two surgeries. I expected to get going kind of slow, but it was frustrating when you're used to making shots, making plays."
James still made his share of plays, including a key stretch in the third quarter after Dallas wiped out a 16-point deficit and tied the game at 63.
When Daniel Gibson missed a shot from the corner, James zoomed in, grabbed the rebound and banked it in, all in one motion. He followed with a three-point play and a pair of free throws. The Cavs ended the quarter up by six, then Williams put away the game, giving Cleveland its first road win after two losses.
"It's a nice win, a good way to close out the road trip," said James, who finished with a season-high 29 points despite shooting only 8-of-20. He also had a season-low three assists; he came in averaging 9.3.
"It's all about defense," he added. "We took a stand. When they tied it up, we buckled down and worked defensively. Then we made some shots. I didn't shoot the ball particularly well, like I know I can. I was in attack mode all night, but I missed some shots I know I can make."
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki used almost the same words to describe his poor shooting.
After making his first shot, putting the Mavericks up 2-0, he missed his next seven tries. He didn't have another basket until late in the third quarter, and Dallas never led again.
"You're not going to totally stop Dirk Nowitzki, but the combination of Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao did about as good a job on Dirk as I've seen since he's been in the league," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said.
Nowitzki finished with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, his worst performance since scoring seven against New Orleans last December. The Mavericks also fell to 0-2 at home.
"It just wasn't one of my nights," Nowitzki said. "We just never really got going. We looked slow, we looked sluggish."
Zydrunas Ilgausakas had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland. Delonte West added 14 points and Wally Szczerbiak had 10. Wallace didn't score, but had 13 rebounds.
Cleveland led 28-12 late in the first quarter. Other than the stretch that culminated in the third-quarter tie, the Cavaliers were hardly challenged. Fans began streaming out after Williams' big roll, while those who stayed seemingly stuck around just to boo.
New Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said his guys weren't aggressive enough in going after Cleveland's misses. It was that way from the start, he noted, recalling that the Cavs grabbed four offensive rebounds the first 3½ minutes.
"You've got to be pursuing the ball or making contact," Carlisle said. "We were doing neither."
Dallas goes to San Antonio on Tuesday night. The Spurs are 0-2.
"They're desperate for a win," Carlisle said. "There's no time for us to mope."
- Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse did not play. Carlisle said Stackhouse is battling a foot problem.
- Brown was an assistant to Carlisle in Indiana. "I learned a lot from him," Brown said. "I'll always be indebted to him. Great coach. Brilliant mind."
- Wright returned to the starting lineup despite having been benched the entire previous game. His reward was covering James. He covered Tracy McGrady in the opener, his other start.